The Denver Broncos have been in search of wide receiver depth ever since the team finalized its initial roster back in September. Here we are in October, and the search continues. The Broncos have brought in a wide variety of former New Orleans Saints players with ties to head coach Sean Payton this offseason, which should come as no surprise, but Payton has brought in a decent amount of former Saints receivers to try and boost the depth on this roster.
The one guy who has made the most impact so far, and somewhat surprisingly, is Lil'Jordan Humphrey, who actually just had a crucial catch and run on a third-down play in the Broncos' win on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Marquez Callaway, who was signed in free agency, was expected to have a much bigger impact, but ended up doing nothing of note in training camp or preseason, and was let go at roster cuts. He's currently on the Las Vegas Raiders' practice squad.
Now, another former Saints receiver has entered the mix. Former third-round pick Tre'Quan Smith, released from the Saints' injured reserve last week, has officially signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad after coming in for a visit late last week.
Over the course of his career, Smith has averaged 13.5 yards per reception and has 18 career touchdowns. To no one's surprise, he played his best football when Sean Payton was on the coaching staff in New Orleans, and particularly in the first three years of his career. It looked like Smith was on a trajectory to become a nice WR2 in the league but he hit a bit of a plateau which has obviously led us to where we are today.
There were some rumors around the time of roster cuts that Smith could be a Denver Broncos target via trade, but that didn't sit well with me or really anyone in Broncos Country based on the fact that he hasn't done much to be deemed trade worthy recently. With that being said, I do quite like this move as a practice squad addition and possible call-up to see what Smith has in the tank. The Broncos just got one of the best performances of the year from their wide receiver position against Chicago, featuring big plays by everyone who was active for the game.
The ball distribution this season has been outstanding from quarterback Russell Wilson, and a player like Tre'Quan Smith could stand to benefit from the way Russ is operating the Sean Payton offense right now, ranking second in the NFL in touchdown passes and touchdown percentage.
Between the wide receiver and tight end position, we've seen a total of six former Saints now join the Denver Broncos. If you add the running back position into the mix, former Saints players Tony Jones Jr. and Dwayne Washington make eight skill players that have worn orange and blue, whether on the active roster or the practice squad.
It helps to have experience in Sean Payton's offense, and it will certainly help Tre'Quan Smith get on the field sooner rather than later. Smith is going to have to do his part to prove he's game ready, but there was apparently some competition for his services. You can't help but wonder what he may have been promised by the Broncos coming in and how quickly we'll see him on the field.